On Loan From The Seattle Sounders, Ockford Can Play Defense and A Little Offense
There’s an old cliche that goes, “A better defense always beats a good offense”. The 2013 New York Cosmos are proof of that as they had a stellar back four that carried them to a 2013 NASL Championship. With that being said, the Cosmos still went out and added a center back via loan from the Seattle Sounders by the name of Jimmy Ockford.
Ockford, played college soccer for three years at Mount Saint Mary’s University as a midfielder/forward. After three years at Mount Saint Mary’s, he would transfer to Louisville University where he played center back for the first time and was named AAC Defender of The Year for his services. In 2014, he was drafted by the Seattle Sounders in the second round of the MLS Superdraft which led to a loan to the New York Cosmos.
As soon as he arrived to the NY Cosmos, he was lucky enough to travel with the team to their preseason training in Dubai. While there, he scored two goals in two of their pre-season matches. His first was the game winner against Arabian Gulf side Al Wasl with his second goal coming against Emirates Club. Once back in the United States however, Ockford would have to wait to take to the pitch to make his actual debut with the Cosmos. Nonetheless he made his time worth while by learning from the seasoned veterans the Cosmos have on defense.
“Its been a great experience so far with a great group of guys. Especially for me being a center back, Carlos Mendes and Roversio have been good leaders for me. They’ve helped me develop as a player and they’ve taught me a lot this year”, said Ockford on Friday shortly after his practice session with the team.
While learning, he has impressed Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese, enough to give him some key minutes recently. During the Cosmos US Open Cup Match back on May 28th against the Brooklyn Italians, he scored his first professional goal with the Cosmos. Ayoze fired a well placed corner kick that Ockford nailed with a header into the net to give the Cosmos their first goal of that match. That same weekend, in NASL play, he would come in as a substitute against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the second half. In the 83rd minute he would deflect a Joseph Nane shot into the net to give the Cosmos a comfortable 2-0 lead that would culminate in a 3-0 win.
After both of those matches, I asked head coach Giovanni Savarese about giving Ockford some playing time and he had nothing but praise for Ockford.
“Jimmy has been a great asset to our team since the beginning of preseason” said Savarese. “He’s a youngster that just came out of college. A very confident player with great tools and I feel that he’s been feeling that he is in the right environment to keep developing and unfortunately he’s going to have to go back at some point to be with Seattle. He’s very secure in the back. He doesn’t miss a beat. He’s been very smart to learn from Roversio and Carlos Mendes. Not only has he been able to contribute defensively but he has also been able to find some goals that have been important to us in preseason and especially now during important matches”
The farther the Cosmos continue into the US Open Cup, the more coach Savarese will be calling upon players like Ockford and others on the bench. Which makes one wonder, how long do the Cosmos actually have Jimmy Ockford? Savarese commented on Ockford’s stay with the Cosmos. “Very openly and transparently the agreement that we have is that he is going to be here with us for the year but Seattle has the opportunity to recall him in a short span of time during the summer. They have to make a decision if they will need him otherwise he will stay with us. Nonetheless, I feel very content that they (Seattle) were able to be good to us and give us a very good player.”
For now Ockford is thrilled to be with the Cosmos and is looking forward to getting more minutes in Sunday’s match against Ottawa while hoping that the Cosmos can win the Spring title. He also has his eyes however set on the Cosmos / Red Bulls match on June 14th.
“I cannot wait, that’s going to be a crazy game!”, said Ockford whose face lit up with excitement when asked about the Cosmos / Red Bull match. “Especially since we’re home at Hofstra, so I’m sure its going to be a packed house. Its going to be a great one”.
Something tells me that when the Cosmos picked up Ockford they knew they were not just getting a defender, but also a potential scorer since he had experience as a midfielder and forward in college. While Cosmos fans hope that he stays for longer than this year, all we can say for now is “Thank you Seattle!”.
You can view Jimmy Ockford’s most recent goal from Saturday’s match below from the Cosmos goal highlights.